"The pass-along effect: investigating word-of-mouth effects on online survey procedures"
Norman, Andrew T.
Russell, Cristel Antonia
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SubjectInternet survey methodologies; Online surveys; Email surveys; Pass-along effect; Computer-mediated communication
Email petitions to complete online surveys may be forwarded beyond the intended sample. We term this phenomenon the pass-along effect and investigate it as a factor that can influence the nature and size of survey samples in an online context. We establish the pass-along effect as a form of word-of-mouth communication and draw from the literature in this area to present and test a model of factors that influence the occurrence of this effect. The results of two studies provide empirical support for the existence and impact of the pass-along effect. Among the factors that lead to this effect are involvement and relationship with the survey topic, size of a participant’s social network, and tie strength. The appropriateness of employing pass-along respondents as well as other implications for online sampling and survey research are discussed.
Andrew T. Norman is a professor of marketing in the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University. He can be contacted at email@example.com